how do I know if my timing chain is bad

I have a 1997 mercury mountaineer with a 5.0 The truck has 125000 miles and is making what sounds to me as being a lifter noise. This noise quiets down after being driven around a while.
My mechanic says it's the timing chain.
How do I know which one it is. The truck runs fine, no problems starting and has lots of pick up when needed.
What are the signs of a bad timing chain.......
Thanks
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A truly bad timing chain would probably make your truck run like crap, but at this point the amount your chain might have stretched is probably minimal, if it is running fine.
You might want to try changing your oil and filter first, use the correct viscocity, and see what happens. My lifters start to chatter too when I've let the oil go a little too long without being checked or changed, and an oil change does the trick.
Matt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
steven mantas opined in

I find that odd.... although it's been decades since I've been around a car with timing chain problems, it seems to me that the symptoms are worse as the engine gets to operating temperature...
I could be wrong, but I suggest you might want to invest in running Mobil 1 for a while. Change filter midway through the first course.
I bet that problem goes away after a couple thousand miles.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 3 Dec 2004 18:13:08 -0500, "steven mantas"

It is not likely a timing chain noise in that engine. The chain in these engine will normally render a sound similar to a bicycle chain as it runs and will normally become a bit louder as it wears and as it gets warmer. The OEM chain and sprocket is a double roller type that is uch more durable and longer life than so-called silent chains used years earlier. These chains tend to run for the life of the engine with few failures. One sign of a stretched or worn timing chain is out of spec ignition timing. I recently had the pan off my 1993 5.0L for gasket replacement and found a very snug chain at over 200K miles. The ignition timing had never required adjustment and was within 1 deg of specs indicating little chain wear or stretch. Keep in mind that many 5.0L engines exhibit a light tapping noise in the front end especially when hot as mine does. I have felt this is likely related to the hydraulic roller lifters and seems to be quite normal. In any case, my last 3 5.0L engines have made it past 200K with a noise in the front end and, without failure. Unless it is excessive, I would not lose a great deal of sleep over it.
Getting quieter as it warm tends to indicate the lifters are more likely the source. Good quality fresh oil and filter many times will correct this. Also, some filters can cause this. This is not normally a problem with OEM filters but, some aftermarket filters tend to restrict oil flow a bit right after startup until the oil warms. I won't recommend a particular filter but, the OEM filters are usually a safe bet unless you have experience with a particular filter brand/line. Outside the OEM filters, the aftermarket can be a crap shoot if you don't know what you are looking for.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for the input, you all have been very helpful.....I neglected to say that the noise doesnt completely go away, it just gets quieter after it's driven a while. I just bought this truck 3 months ago and they had a fresh oil change done on it already. I also have put rislone in it to see if that does anything, but after 1000 miles it remains the same.
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
steven mantas opined in

Rislone?!!!!
Man... that's snake oil from the old days!!!!
It's was promoted to remove sludge and varnish "frees sticky lifters", right?
If you use quality oil and change at 3000 and drive it at least 1/2 hour every 4th or so trip, you dont need that stuff.
I think you need to do an oil change now... and, for those reading this, ANYTIME you buy a used car change oil immediately... to find out if the seller put tricky lube in it to mask problems - like piston slap or bad bearings.
Like I said, use Mobil 1 the problem will PROBABLY go away.
Others are right, use Motorcraft or Purolator or wix... do not use that highly advertised brand
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yeah, I can't ever remember a single instance when I thought Rislone was a good idea. Anything that sounds like water when you shake the can ain't going into my crankcase.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Backyard Mechanic wrote:

Rislone is the only additive you can put in an engine. aircraft engine at least
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If your using those cheap Fram filters, throw it away and get a Wix or Purolator. If you use cheap Penzoil or Quakerstate try synthetic or semi-synthetic. The Ranger I have run semi-synthetic in since it was new has a little lifter noise when it starts but it has 150,000 miles now. I would say this is what you hear also.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I didn't realize Fram oil filters were cheapos. They're inexpensive, but I remember reading in Consumer Reports quite awhile back where they did a comparo for oil filters and Frams were found to have the best specs. But this was quite a few years ago. Not that I'm a big deciple of Consumer Reports, but they definitely do have a high reputation for being factual and unbiased. So I just started using them exclusively, with no problems. How is it that Wix or Purolator is better? I'd be interested to know this because I'll use whatever I believe to be the best, regardless of price.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
James Goforth wrote:

http://www.scuderiaciriani.com/rx7/oil_filter_study /
Rob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

get quieter as the engine warms. A timing chain will generally make a more random metalic noise. If it's a tic tic tic noise I vote for a lifter. If it is a tic, tic noise, I think you should get another opinion from another mechanic.
--
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks,
I went to 3 other mechanics that verified it IS a lifter noise. Now I want to have this fixed. I found a mechanic that told me he would charge $275 for labor if I buy my own parts. Any idea what the parts would cost including intake and valve cover gaskets??
I am told that the intake has to come off to get the job done. It's the 5.0 V-8.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 11 Dec 2004 20:00:38 -0500, "steven mantas"
Although I can understand that you do not like the lifter noise, I would still suggest using a different oil and filter and use of an additive to quiet it down. Beyond that, I may (as an advanced DIY'er on my own vehicle) pull the rocker cover and check to be sure the rocker and pushrod are OK and it is properly setup. Unless the noise is very loud, I would not touch it especially going as far as replacing the lifter. The problem is identifying exactly which lifter. Some mechanics are good enough to isolate a noisy lifter but, as often as not, replacement od only one lifter will not cure the problem. Lifter at almost $20US each can get very expensive very quickly with not much to show for the effort and expense. I do, in fact, have a '94 crown Vic with the 4.6L engine and 126K miles. They occasionally will toss a lash adjuster (equivalent of the 5.0L lifter). Mine has one that seems to go completely flat and be heard for a couple hundred feet when idling cold and occasionally cause a misfire. After it runs for a couple of minutes, it will suddenly become quiet. It has been this way for at least 60K miles with no harmful event. Unless you lifter is unusually loud which can be determined by a qualified technician, I wouldn't do anything beyond the oil and filter change. Save your money and get some sleep or something. The cost of this repair will be exactly the same in a complete state of failure as it will be right now. It is very unlikely that you are hearing an imminent failure in progress. Some engines just don't like a particular brew while others would never know the difference.
Lugnut

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
steven mantas opined in

Why do it at all... I can pretty much guarantee that it will go away if you use decent oil. Mobil 1 is much cheaper.
Like i said, change the filter at about 700 miles in the first course. oil at 2000. Then go for the regular course.
Just wondering... what brand oil do you use?
Wouldnt be a famous much advertised brand that starts with P or Q would it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

stores and find out what the gaskets cost. It could be that the rocker arm rod is comming loose then it just needs tightening. But most likely it is a stuck lifter. If so have him find the loose one and go from there. Did you try anything like "lifter free". It works sometimes. Is it soooo loud that you just must fix it?
--
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have only had the truck for 3 months and I am about to change the oil...I always use mobil 1 drive clean....
I have used rislone anytime formula and drove it 1000 miles with no luck, then i put this stuff in called hapco engine concentrate that is supposed to free up a sticky lifter in 10 minutes or money back.....the lifter is real loud when the engine is cold then quiets down after driving about 2 to 3 miles until it warms up.....I dont hear it after that unless I am at idle and rev the motor to about 1200 rpm, then it rattles but not real loud.....

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

that sounds like it might be piston slap to me. KB
--
ThunderSnake #9 Warn once, shoot twice
460 in the pkup, 460 on the stand for another pkup
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.